Unique Sports Advent Calendar – December 4: Fistball

So, I really need to get this done. As distracting as webcomics can be, here’s my fourth post. One sixth of the way there! This one’s about fistball!


Fistball has a surprisingly long and winding history, with the first written mention of the game being from the year 240, by Gordian III, the Roman Emperor.

Antonius Scaiono wrote rules for an Italian version in 1555, Johann Wolfgang Goethe mentioned fistball games in 1786, but it wasn’t introduced to Germany until 1870, by Georg Weber. First presented at the German Gymnastics Festival in 1885, first rules were created by Weber in 1894 and German emigrants began spreading the sport around the world.

The first German championships were held in 1913, where LLB Frankfurt won 114:101 over 1879 MTV Munich, with the first women’s champions taking place in 1921 and the sport expanding throughout Germany, with frequent intermissions due to minor things like World Wars.

The International Fistball Association was formed in 1960, and now has 52 members. The first world championships were held in Austria in 1968 (West Germany won), and have been at the World Games since 1985.

How to Play

Fistball is a five-a-side sport, played on different court sizes (50x20m outdoor, 40x20m indoor) split in two, with a net between 1.9 and 2 metres high. in the middle.

Fistball is a lot like volleyball, but it is played with the fist and the ball is allowed to bounce between the taps. You can’t touch the ball multiple times in the one turn, though.

If the ball touches the net, goes out, touches a player not on the arm, it’s an error, and the opponent scores.

The winner is the first team to win two or three sets, depending on what you decided. The winner of a set is first to 11, unless they don’t lead by two, in which case it is first to lead by two, but the first to 15 wins anyway, even if it’s 15-14.

Who’s on Top?

The two most recent major events are the 2013 World Games (in Cali, Colombia) and the 2015 World Championships (in Córdoba, Argentina). Germany, having lost to Switzerland in the group stage at the World Games, got revenge later on, winning the final 4 sets to 1.

2013 World Games – Results

  1. Germany
  2. Switzerland
  3. Austria
  4. Brazil
  5. Chile
  6. Argentina

The 2015 World Championships were hard to find results for, but they had a similar result, Germany finishing 1st over Switzerland, with Austria and Brazil third and fourth.

2015 World Championships – Results

  1. Germany
  2. Switzerland
  3. Austria
  4. Brazil
  5. Argentina
  6. Chile

The Women’s World Championships were held a month or so ago in Curibita, Brazil, and were won, as expected, by Germany, with the hosts finishing second.

2016 Women’s World Championships – Results

  1. Germany
  2. Brazil
  3. Switzerland


The Fistball Federation of Australia, or FiFA, was founded in 2013, and we appear to take the sport with our tongue firmly in cheek. We have a tournament called Fistivus, a best player award called the Best and Fistest, and we have teams called the Fistroy Lions and The Fist and the Furious.

Despite our newcoming to the sport, we are on our way, with a developing rivalry against South Africa, and an Australian team, South Melbourne FC, finishing 3rd at the Fistball World Cup, over the Archbishops of Banterbury (the South Africans also have a sense of humour with this sport).

Our men’s and women’s teams both finished second-last at the recent World Championships, with the men finishing 13th out of 14 and the women 7th out of 8, but we’re on our way.

To know more, go to our official website and read this article on the VFL’s greatest rivalries.


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